My mother told me this whenever I got three questions deep in a conversation that required just two.
Why do I need to go to school?
So that you can go to college.
Why should I go to college?
So that you can get a job.
Why do people want to get a job so much? Everyone with a job looks miserable.
Go clean your room. You think too much.
Maybe you’re the type who talks too much. Or who daydreams too much. Or draws too much. I remember a lot of my detention-mates in high school drawing, scribbling, fidgeting, driving the poor teacher nuts. This post’s for you.
What did I do when I was told I thought too much? Well, I sure as hell didn’t stop thinking. To halt my questions prematurely would have been, to me, like holding my breath. I can’t do it for too long before my brain cells start to die.
Instead, I just started to think of my excessive thinking/talking/scribbling as dysfunction. I still thought and thought and thought. But I felt guilty about it.
I have an undisciplined mind. I’m lazy. I have attention deficit disorder.
But what if I can’t pay attention to this inane task you’ve asked me to do? Yes I see Kevin, and yes I understand that he has been tossing those bananas in the air for hours. I have no desire to toss bananas in the air.
Maybe Kevin has Over Focus Disorder (OFD). People with OFD have the unfortunate capacity to focus and accomplish any task, no matter how meaningless, demeaning, or stupid. The next time you see someone with OFD, give him a hug and a box of crayons.
Here’s something your supervisor, your parents, your in-laws, don’t want you to say out loud: Most things people expect you to focus on aren’t worth your attention.
Listen, it’s great to have focus, but it’s also great to lose focus. Columbus discovered the Americas because he lost focus. He landed in South America, thought it was India, and called the people he met Indians. That was an idiotic mistake, one we still make today.
But here’s the thing: he discovered America!
If you’re a doodler, a daydreamer, or godhelpyou, a writer, keep wandering off the path that leads to worthless tasks. As long as you’re wandering with discipline, intention, and joy, you’ll find what the world doesn’t know to look for.